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Harrison County to provide grants to small businesses

CADIZ — Harrison County will provide some financial relief to local small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic through grant funding.

The Harrison County Board of Commissioners made the announcement during Wednesday’s regularly scheduled meeting. Officials have decided to award $5,000 grants to small businesses in the county through the county’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Small Business Relief Program, Commissioner Paul Coffland said.

“We have decided we are going to put out a small business grant program for businesses in Harrison County,” he said. “This is a program we looked at and with the amount of funding that we have available, we hope that any business in Harrison County can take advantage of this.”

The program will provide small businesses, with 30 employees or less, with financial relief due to expenses from business interruption caused by the pandemic.

“It will be a $5,000 grant for liable expenses directly related to the pandemic. We hope some Harrison County businesses will be able to take advantage of this,” Coffland said.

The county will use its excess funding from the CARES Act to provide the grants to small businesses. The county received approximately $700,000 in CARES Act funding for the county and its villages and townships.

“We’ve only had three villages, the village of Hopedale, the village of Scio and the village of Cadiz, apply to use those CARES funds and that’s no fault to any township or the other villages. There are strict requirements. … They (townships and villages) didn’t have non-budgeted items that were directly related and could be reimbursed; they didn’t have to spend additional monies to combat COVID-19,” Coffland said.

County Auditor Allison Anderson said county officials thought helping local businesses would be the most beneficial way to help spend some of the funding.

“We do have this money and there are so many stipulations on how we can spend it and it really doesn’t leave a whole lot of opportunity to use all 100 percent, so we’re trying to find ways to use that 100 percent. We thought helping businesses in the area would be the most beneficial way,” she said.

The grant funding could also help businesses that are lacking an income amid the pandemic but still have a mortgage or rent to pay for their business.

“If you don’t have any income coming in, but you still have routine expenses like a mortgage, a lease or a rental or something like that, then you can use it for those kinds of expenses. It just has to be from March 23 to Nov. 16,” Anderson said.

The county must return all unused CARES Act funds by Feb. 1, she said.

Anderson said the county is unsure how many grants will be awarded, but officials are hoping to help as many businesses as possible.

“It’s open right now. We’re not exactly sure how many businesses will be eligible. We would like to help as many as we can,” she said.

The application form, eligibility requirements and process information can be found on the county’s website, harrisoncountyohio.org, or in the commissioners’ office. The deadline for application submission is Oct. 31.

Anyone with questions regarding the program can email Anderson at aanderson@harrisoncountyohio.org.

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